MANHATTAN, Kan. (K-State Athletics) – Head coach Jerome Tang has been selected as a finalist for the 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year, as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Monday (March 20).
Tang is a finalist, along with Purdue’s Matt Painter, Houston’s Kelvin Sampson and Marquette’s Shaka Smart.
Fans will have a say in determining the winner, as starting Tuesday (March 21), they can visit www.naismithfanvote.com or on Twitter (@MarchMadness and @naismithtrophy) to cast their ballot for one of the finalists. Voting ends at 11 a.m., CT on Wednesday, March 28 and fans are limited to one vote per day. The fan vote will account for 5 percent of the total vote.
The 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year will be awarded on Sunday, April 2 during the Men’s Final Four.
Tang has been named a finalist for several National Coach of the Year honors, including the Joe B. Hall Award (top first-year Division I head coach), the Ben Jobe Award (top Division I minority coach) and the Jim Phelan Award (Division I Coach of the Year). He has also been District Coach of the Year by the NABC and USBWA.
Tang was the consensus Big 12 Coach of the Year, earning the honor from both the league coaches and AP after helping K-State rise from being picked last in the preseason Big 12 poll to finishing in a tie for third place with an 11-7 record. He is the seventh head coach in school history to earn conference Coach of the Year honors, including the second (Bruce Weber in 2013) to win the honor in his first season.
Picked 10th in the preseason Big 12 poll and armed with just two returning players, Tang has guided the Wildcats to 25 wins so far this season and a spot in the Sweet 16. It is just the eighth 25-win season in school history and the first since 2017-18, while it is the school’s 18th appearance in the Sweet 16 and first since 2017-18.
His 25-9 record is currently one of the best in the nation by a first-year Division I head coach, trailing just Duke’s Jon Scheyer (27-9). He joins Xavier’s Sean Miller as the only first-year Division I head coaches to advance to his team to the Sweet 16. His 25 wins are the second-most by a first-year head coach in school history, while he is the fifth K-State head coach to win 20 games in his first season.
Tang was selected as the 25th head men’s basketball coach at K-State on March 21, 2022, after serving as the one of the chief architects in helping build Baylor into a national powerhouse in his 19 seasons as an assistant and associate head coach from 2003 to 2022.
No. 15/13 K-State (25-9) will play 7-seed Michigan State (21-11) at 5:30 p.m., CT on Thursday in the East Regional Semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The game will air on TBS.